It was all going so well, yesterday that is. We pulled off our first ever lemonade stand, which is a monumental moment in the life of every family, don't you think? I was so proud of my little man, who stuck by his product and didn't complain or run away to play or tire quickly and ask to go inside. He stayed by his little table for nearly three hours; underpouring drinks, forgetting to give change, giving wrong change, forgetting to say thank you, and all the charming mistakes that a first-time entrepreneur makes.
His little trusty sidekick was not so trusty, preferring to munch on pretzels, guzzle lemonade, and ask to eat all the treats their other partner had made to sell. But we found our future Manager in the face of our 10 year old neighbor, who slid into the position with ease and had the stand running smoothly, even working out all the financial disasters and bookkeeping messes that had assembled in the few minutes before he arrived.
I spent the majority of those three hours running back and forth up the stairs to our apartment, making more lemonade (steady flow of customers, yay for first timers!), chasing around a little girl with cherries, and grabbing more snacks for the delinquent sales partner who was threatening to eat up all the merchandise.
It was a fantastic, beautiful morning and we had a lot of fun. Taking the plunge and helping him make it happen not only made for, 1. a great memory, 2. a great summer activity to help fill these daddy-less days, but also 3. a sure-fire way to cut down on what 95% of our conversations have been about since grandma mentioned "lemonade stands" on skype a few weeks ago. Thank you grandma.
So, yes, we were doing quite well... yesterday.
Then, this morning happened. Note exhibit a:
She was up with me, out on our little back porch in the early morning hours because of a hacking cough that was waking her up. Poor thing, I found out today she has a little case of bronchitis. So the day went something like this, and I only tell you because in the end, it was a sweet day, though hard.
- My ayi calls before breakfast, barely choking out the words through her sobs, that she cannot come in today but not to worry. She couldn't say what was wrong (though much to my sorrow, I have an idea), and then hung up. I have been a little distressed about her all day.
- I had arranged for two teenage girls we know to hang out with the kids for a couple hours in the morning so I could go work on my photo lesson for this week, with a muse that was not MY offspring. But, because of Little Scout's hacking cough, nasty nose drainage, and clingy arms, I decided to just drop off the boys and try cleaning and laundry at home with her instead.
- Right, because the washing machine is leaking water all over the floor every time I do a load, as is the toilet every time the tank tries to refill. Called for repairs but have yet to see anyone...
- Cleaned the house, washed the floor, while the sickie dropped mop handles and plastic bowls off the back patio. One of the bowls broke.
- Tried to check my email, waiting to hear from Loverboy, only to find that our internet was down.
- Went to pick up the boys, finding out that my idea of some playtime in a different setting actually meant ice cream at 10 a.m. and a movie. Note to self: a little babysitter training in the way of gently explaining my expectations might be in order next time
- Nobody was hungry for lunch, everybody was a little bit crabby. Picnic lunch idea turned into sitting on the little back patio. Again.
- Boys went down for a nap, but the hacking cough kept the sickie up and crying, overtired and in pain, so I called the doctor to make an appointment.
- While some slept and some hacked, I wisely chose to re-route the wire that connects our internet, instead of doing something restful like, say-- read, or close my eyes, or drink tea. Never change a wire in China when you are already frustrated with anything in your life at that time.
- Took the boys up to a friends apartment while I toted Nose-That-Runs to the doctor, finding out she has a minor case of bronchitis. And a runny nose.
- Came home, fed lots of toast, put kids to bed, more hacking coughs and painful sobs, and then quiet.
I still haven't heard from my ayi. The kids are all sleeping. I'm going to take a shower. As I drove home from the doctor in a taxi this evening, I thought about what a rough day it had been, but also how we have been so cared for! Without ever having to announce what the status of our house was on facebook... I had friends that came along and carried some of my small burdens:
And then, there's always these guys, making rocket ships and superhero feats a thing of childhood legend.
- Girls, even with their ice cream movie mistakes, who watched my children,
- A friend who shared lunch and her company with us, and let me cry a little,
- My morning cancellation made us dinner and brought the most amazing gourmet pizza,
- Upstairs neighbors gladly took in my woken-from-a-nap groggy boys while I ran to the clinic,
- Same lunch-let-me-cry friend then picked up groceries for me and put minutes on my husbands phone so we could talk tonight.